Yes. It is 7.14 am on Mothers day and I am already posting on my blog. Around this time in the morning I have usually been up for at least 30 minutes already, waken by a screaming hungry baby or a toddler wanting his favorite cartoon to be put on. And compared to many other mums (especially the ones who follow the British children schedule with dinner at 5.30 pm and in bed by 6.30 pm – Mine go to bed at 8/8.30 pm baby and 8.30/9 pm toddler, the Italian style!), I am quite lucky as I could have been up since 5 am or been waken up several times in the night but this is usually not my case 🙂
What a grumpy way of introducing Mothers Day, hey?! The truth is there is a Mother’s day for a reason: all we have to put up with as soon as we become completely responsible for another human being. And no matter how supportive and present can be the father of your children: if your child falls peeling their knee skin off and you are both around, be sure they will be running in tears into your arms if they have the choice between the two of you! Not because they have not bonded with their father well, not at all… Just because your mum will always be your mum when it comes to comfort, clean clothes, warm food and all the little extra care, whilst dads are perfect for rough play on the big bed, running around like mad, fixing toys and adventures on the playground :-).
So returning to my breakfast on Mother’s Day, my actual typical morning just looks like that. I am waken up by one of my two children early in the morning, despite I wish I could remain cozy in bed for another two hours or so. Once I put TV on and prepare a glass of water or milk or juice and put some biscuits, cereals and nuts in a bowl so my toddler will be happy for an hour or so, I then have to prepare baby’s food whilst my infant daughter shouts in my hears and pulls on my trousers to be served immediately as if she had had no dinner the night before, actually more as if I had been starving her for a week… I stay calm and try to ignore all of the noise which is now seriously waking me up to the no return point (where even if my husband would now take over, I would be unable to fall asleep again anyway), whilst I mix baby porridge with the content of a fruits pot and half of a little bottle of ready formula milk. When it’s finally ready I feed the baby too and there is finally some silent (if you ignore Postman Pat on the background).
You may think once baby has finished having their breakfast it will finally be time for my coffee… What an illusion! Baby of course is feeling discomfort for a nappy she has had on for nearly 12 hours now so off you go to put a fresh and dry one on. Then it’s your son’s turn to be needing a poo (and you have not even had a chance to have your morning wee yet!). Luckily he is potty trained so he can manage on his own, though if you want to avoid finding poo everywhere in your toilet, you better go and clean when he is finished before he tries to do it himself 🙂 . What time could it be now? Probably 7.45 am, 8 am max. You can finally prepare your breakfast hoping that the new rattle toy will entertain your baby long enough and that your toddler will keep on watching cartoons for another half hour without getting bored and feeling a sudden urge to bother his sibling, which will create a fight and loud tears, or start imploring you to come and play with him in his room as he claims he is absolutely unable to play any game on his own… At this point of the morning I cannot even feel I am hungry anymore! The pleasure of having a warm cappuccino with a lot of froth milk (yes, we have a proper Italian style coffee machine, at least it gets us through the day 🙂 ) is just spoiled by the fact that I have been up for too long by now to even remember this was the first thing I longed for when I woke up… I am now more preoccupied on how to keep the little ones busy this morning considering a few factors: weather, which will determine indoor or outdoor activities; day of the week, to establish what will be open and what will not be on in the specific week day we currently are; who is around of your kids little friends, as a good chat with their mums whilst you take them out all together will simply lift your mood, as you need a bit of adult conversation too (and common moaning immensely helps as well!).
So you rush through your first meal of the day despite you have made sure it is balanced, with some nuts to keep your energy level going until lunch time, fruits and some carbs to get sugar in the system, plenty of water, as a good diet is essential for you to keep on going and surviving physically to your new role of mother which feels as challenging as a marathon on your day to day basis 😉 . Without even enjoying the taste of what you have, you now get slightly anxious thinking at how much time it will take you to get them both dresses and ready without too many tantrums (I don’t want to go out! Let’s play pirates before I get dressed! Five minutes only, please mummy, please… I said please as you always want me to!) and you looking a bear minimum decent when you will walk out the door, to make it in time for that playgroup or activity slot around 10.30 am.
That is why sunny weather is always a winner as there is no time limit for you at the park, you can even plan a picnic and stay for the day, provided you bring all the necessary – nappies, spare change of clothes, enough food and drinks to feed a rugby team, a ball and some sand pit toys, so a bit of extra preparation is needed but so worth it in the end! I have not returned to work yet since the arrival of my second, so I cannot even imagine how my mornings will be once I also have to factor to drop the kids in time to school and arrive myself in time to work without having food stains on my smart work clothes (luckily I can start as late as 11.15 am in my current job, uff).
I have just given you a short account of my mornings on Mothers Day as every single morning you wake up to the true reality of what being a mother means, and not that pink and sentimental dream you had during your first 12 weeks scan… I also think this is what I miss most of my life before I became a mother: sleeping until 10 am, having my cappuccino warm and my home-made nuts and maple syrup brown bread freshly toasted, whilst watching cars and strangers passing by under my kitchen window, taking the time to read a few pages from a good book, listening to my favorite Beatles songs. Where has it all gone? How could I not realize how precious those me-times were until I got trapped into this new routine? It will come back again I am sure, when the kids will be at Uni or so. But because human beings always long for what they don’t have, I bet I will say the same things about those mornings I have just described as so challenging and slightly annoying and miss them when they will be gone…
That is why I try to make the most of my mother’s days now. I have taken all of my maternity leave both times despite some days I felt the urge to go back to work and to be in the busy office environment rather than staying home to clean some poo stain from the carpet… It is true, your kids scratch you, bite you, push you and pull you, scream in your ears, call your name until you give up to get them attention, poke fingers in your eyes, twist the rules you have given them to their advantage, don’t want to go out in the morning, once they are out don’t want to come home anymore when it’s time to, and so on. For the first few years of their life, you don’t feel human anymore as they don’t know what boundaries are. But the thing is you are there to teach them, and unfortunately they only learn by repetition, so you have to find a lot of your patience, much more than you ever imagined you would have, and teach them again, every day. No matter how hard the task may seem to you, I promise, you will happily ‘survive’, by simply hanging on to the smiles, the cuddles; that light that immediately sparks into their eyes when they see you as the most important person of their life has just entered the room; the story time when they sit on your lap to read a book; that unconditional love, even when you are grumpy and shaming them because you are actually just having a bad day; the laughter, the flowers picked up from the grass especially for you (with the stones and the wooden sticks too!); the unexpected hug and ‘I love you so much’ (they imitate how you treat them ❤ ); the happy face when you pick them up from nursery; the holding tight on to you when they are sick or just had a nightmare in the middle of the scary dark night; their immense joy when you have organized a play date with their best friend…
And just forget all the rest (the warm food, the clean clothes and hair, the sleep, the reading time, the silence…) as it never existed before, that is the only way to avoid living in the regrets 😦 .
Update – 9.31pm
No matter how much I was tented to say to my husband ‘This year, on mothers day I want the 3 of you to disappear from 6 am until midnight so I can have all of this time for myself as a reward for being there every other 364 days of the year!’, I maintained coherence with my last words just above and I actually opted for the classic family lunch and asked him to find a lovely place, not especially expensive and quite local to avoid the long car drive for the kids. He booked us a table at the Gazette in Balham and we actually had such a good time! The food was really good (despite we were interrupted several times by the kids we managed to enjoy it warm!) and the bonus was that all their tables are made of slate and are provided with a little pot of colorful chalks, so for once you can tell your kids they have the permission to draw on the table! My son didn’t waited long before he turned his little red chalk in a car after I had been designing a few streets, cross sections and roundabouts with my white one 😉
Sitting next to us was a family with a father and two daughters who were likely to be primary school age and no one else: they were all watching i Pads and play games on their phones separately, not talking to each other… My husband looked at me quite depressed by this scene and whispered: ‘Please do let me know when we get to that stage so we stop straight away…’ That made me think that someone had definitively gone for my first option, probably to spend a mothers day among girls friends or similar. Seeing what was left without her, it made it so clear that I had made the right decision, as despite it is such hard work, your family is much happier when you are around with them (and deep down you know you are too – some days very deep down lol) ❤ .